Choosing an advanced degree program in the field of education takes time and consideration, but the PhD curriculum and instruction online degree is a great choice for people who want to study and implement teaching strategies that will help improve education at all levels. For many who seek a PhD in curriculum and instruction, salary increases are an attractive side effect of getting a doctorate that fills the gaps in your knowledge of education to make you the best advocate for effective teaching strategies and planning. Online doctoral programs in curriculum and instruction provide students with a convenient way to access this advanced knowledge and integrate it into their work in education, allowing students to study around a busy professional and personal schedule.
What is Curriculum & Instruction?
The field of curriculum and instruction is a growing part of the educational landscape, seeking to improve educational outcomes by changing the curriculum’s content and delivery in educational institutions of all types. Through research and the knowledge of theories of learning, professionals in curriculum and instruction study ways of presenting learning material to maximize student understanding and retention. For people who care about making people’s lives better through education, curriculum and instruction PhD programs provide an avenue to gain the specialist knowledge to implement changes in education that will give more students access to better education. While other professionals in education are responsible for applying and managing the changes on a day-to-day basis within educational contexts, curriculum and instruction professionals are often the instigators of major changes to education and training systems. Everyone in education is dealing with the changes that have been introduced by a changing technological society, but curriculum specialists are best positioned to help the whole field to advance with the times.
Curriculum and Instruction vs. Instructional Design
It is easy to confuse the field of instructional design with curriculum and instruction. While the two are complimentary and collaborative fields with each other, they have different functions. Instructional design is concerned with how to deliver educational content in the most effective way, either in an online or in-person format. Curriculum and instruction look carefully at the content that will be delivered in an educational context, and considers the overall delivery of content, yet not with the same detailed attention as instructional design. While both fields examine theories of how people learn, designers are more concerned with the best ways to present content to students, while curriculum and instruction professionals will look at content and delivery. In other words, a PhD curriculum and instruction online degree is a well-rounded degree, whilehave a narrower focus. However, if you have a true flair for design and structures, and are less interested in the content, instructional design will give you more time doing what you love most.
Types of Degrees: PhD vs. EdD
In addition to deciding whether to pursue instructional design careers or go for the curriculum and instruction salary, you need to consider whether the PhD is the best type of doctorate for you. The PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction, is geared towards those who want to do research and teaching within education, though PhDs may also look at jobs where they will implement the recommendations drawn from research on the efficacy of particular educational strategies.
The EdD, ordegree, is primarily designed for those who want to lead educational institutions and is therefore more geared to practitioners than researchers. However, there is a lot of overlap between the coursework for the EdD and the PhD curriculum and instruction online. Both degrees will involve research, but while the EdD may go further in application of research, while the PhD will dive a bit deeper into the innovation of new ideas and intensive research into strategies for improvement in education content and delivery.
Another way to think about the difference in these degree types is that a PhD will generate new theories to test based on gaps in the existing literature, while an EdD will start their research from a problem that exists in practice. There is overlap, but the perspective is slightly different. If you are most interested in research and teaching in a university, then the PhD is the right direction to go. However, if you want to be a leader in education, solving problems in the field, or your interest is in working directly with education organizations on curriculum and instruction changes, then the EdD may be a better choice for you. The upshot is that both degrees are the highest possible in this field—or terminal—degrees in the field of education. You can teach at university or take leadership positions in the field with either degree.
What Can You Do with a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction?
One common job for people who get the PhD curriculum and instruction online is as a college or university professor, and the average salary for a professor in the United States iswith an education PhD in curriculum and instruction salary median of $100,100. Another popular career choice of those with a PhD online curriculum and instruction is to be an academic researcher, for which an intermediate researcher median salary is $79,600, but can go over $112,884 for those with more experience. An education researcher who works in the federal government can expect to earn an average of $133,694 per year. As you can see, there is a good deal of variation in what you can expect from a curriculum and instruction salary after getting a PhD. But the possibility of earning a very good living in academic and research positions is something many seek in a high-level career in education.
Other jobs that are possible for those with the PhD are working as a curriculum specialist, evaluation and assessment specialist, educational program officer, instructional coordinator, online program coordinator, or lead K-12 teacher. Jobs in business settings can include working as an education consultant, corporate trainer, or a training and development manager. Depending on what level and what industry you are interested in working in, you may find a PhD in curriculum and instruction salary to vary between around $55,000 to well over $100,000. This degree can qualify you to work with K-12 school systems, community colleges, 4-year universities, corporate instruction and training organizations, online education providers, government departments, or nonprofit educational organizations.
Many people who opt for the PhD curriculum and instruction online may continue to teach or to serve in K-12 schools where a teaching license is required. Yet the PhD is not a degree that leads to licensure, so if your career goal is a position that requires a teaching license in your state, you will need to have other education to fulfill the requirements to become licensed. But many experienced teachers upgrade their credentials and expertise with a PhD in curriculum and instruction.
Top 3 Affordable PhD Curriculum and Instruction Online
Texas Tech University
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction / Curriculum Studies & Teacher Education
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $27,049
Educators interested in the PhD curriculum and instruction online from Texas Tech University have options for their concentration. The three formal track options are Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education (CSTE); Language, Diversity, and Literacy Studies; and STEM Education. Students can also choose the general curriculum and instruction track, which allows for personalized concentrations in an area of interest, which could be becoming an education generalist, a research methodologist, or an education specialist in a content area of their choice. Any of the concentrations can prepare graduates to work as a teacher trainer or in leadership positions in K-12 education, or to teach at the university level. In addition, corporations and government agencies have positions for graduates of curriculum and instruction PhD programs, with curriculum design and training being highly valued skills.
At a total of 63 credits for completion of the degree, students have a maximum of eight years to complete the degree, or four years past doctoral candidacy. The curriculum and instruction (C & I) program require all students to take 9 credits of core courses, including Orientation to Research & Scholarship in C & I, Diversity Ideologies: Implications for Schooling, and Curriculum Theory: Theoretical Frameworks in C & I. There are 18 credits of coursework in research methods, including Advanced Field Methods in Constructive Inquiry and Introduction to Data-Driven Models of Inquiry in C & I. After passing comprehensive exams, all students must complete 12 credit hours of dissertation. The remaining 24 credits are comprised of track requirements and electives, including such courses as Policy Issues in K-12 Curriculum & Instruction, Global Literacy, and Philosophy and History of STEM Education.
The degree can be completed completely online, or students may choose to include some hybrid classes if they live near campus. Though most courses are asynchronous, there may be “live” classes or meetings required for online students. Admission requires a master’s degree in education or a related subject, GREs, resume, applicant statement, and a writing sample. Students who have a master’s in a field that does not closely match their track or whose master’s degree was completed more than seven years prior to admission may be required to take up to 15 credits of leveling courses that will not count towards the degree. Applications are due by November 1 for the following fall start date. Texas Tech’s online doctoral programs in curriculum and instruction are rigorous but flexible for working professionals who seek a specialized curriculum and instruction program to fit around their current jobs and commitments.
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Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Education / Curriculum & Instruction
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $37,193
Liberty University’s online curriculum and instruction PhD has many features that make it attractive to students from across the country. The classes are structured in an 8-week format, giving a concise period to concentrate on the subject matter of the course. The program has multiple start dates each year, meaning that you can get started as soon as possible after you decide the PhD is the right path for your education and goals. In addition, Liberty University lets you transfer up to 50% of the credits towards this 60-credit degree. Plus, with decades of experience in distance education, the delivery of the PhD curriculum and instruction online from Liberty is top notch.
Divided into four areas, the courses in the PhD include core education classes, research courses, curriculum & instruction concentration classes, and the dissertation process. Courses include Issues & Trends in Learning Technologies, Organizational Analysis & Problem Solving, Investigations in Curriculum Change, Advanced Educational Statistics, and Dissertation III. There are optional on-campus intensives connected to this program for students who would like to meet face-to-face with peers and faculty. The theoretical and research courses support students in progressing towards the dissertation stage of the degree, which is extensive. The program has a biblical foundation along with rigorous and well-planned coursework taught by esteemed and experienced faculty. Most students complete the full program in approximately three years of study, though there is flexibility to accommodate individual needs and preferences.
To apply for admission, applicants need to have a 3.0 GPA on their accredited master’s degree coursework, although preliminary acceptance is available to those in their final term of coursework towards their master’s degree. For those who are not native English speakers, a proficiency test or waiver request must be submitted. Because there are so many possible start dates, there are no firm application deadlines. Although tuition is already very low for this doctoral program, there are additional discounts for military members, veterans, and military spouses.
For students who are interested in a Christian perspective in their education, the Liberty PhD is a perfect choice. But with affordable tuition, strong curriculum, expert teachers, and flexible scheduling, the curriculum and instruction PhD program at Liberty University can make a great choice for a wide spectrum of education professionals to complete their doctoral degree.
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Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Education / Curriculum & Teaching
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $72,430
The online curriculum and teaching PhD from Northcentral University costs more than the cheapest schools on our list, but it offers many benefits that may make it the perfect choice for many students. Courses start weekly, there are no scheduled lecture times, and no group assignments, making it especially easy to arrange your schoolwork around a busy personal and professional life. In addition, students receive one-on-one time with faculty rather than fighting to be seen on screen in video lessons. The 60-credit program can be completed at a pace that works best for each individual student within a seven-year period, but the average time to completion is a little less than four years. Up to 12 credits can be transferred from another doctoral program, and those who have the EdS degree from Northcentral may be able to apply 30 credits from that program towards the PhD. Those who follow the recommended sequence of courses can finish in 37 months, and if transfer credits are involved, the time to complete the degree can be shorter yet.
Courses in the foundation of the PhD program include Writing for Research and Publication, Theoretical Frameworks, Statistics I, Advanced Qualitative Methodology and Designs, and Components of the Dissertation. The specialization in curriculum and teaching contains courses such as Developing Educational Strategies and Curriculum, Dispositions of Learner and Teacher, Theories and Applications of Instructional Strategies, Assessment Practices, and Advanced Capstone in Curriculum and Teaching. Faculty are very involved in helping students through a structured process towards building the dissertation from early in the program. All faculty have doctorates and are experts in the field.
Northcentral University also has a dissertation completion pathway for students who have completed all their coursework at another institution but have not been able to finish their degree by writing their dissertation. For admission to this pathway, students need to have completed a comparable doctoral coursework program at another institution with at least a 3.0 GPA, and the transfer courses must have been completed in the past seven years, though the dean may make exceptions for coursework that was completed eight to 12 years prior. This PhD online curriculum and instruction pathway requires a minimum of 23 credits of coursework at NCU.
With exceptional individual attention and flexible scheduling, the online doctoral program in curriculum and instruction from Northcentral University makes a good mid-priced choice for discriminating students. It is also perfect for those who seek to finish their degree by completing their dissertation after taking their coursework through another program.
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Start Your PhD in Curriculum & Instruction Now
Education is changing, and you can be a big part of that change by researching and innovating to help students learn better, which is turn can improve people’s prospects for good employment, reduce poverty, and give more people a shot at the good jobs available in our economy. Education leaders who can figure out what and how to best teach the skills and knowledge needed for people to get fulfilling jobs that pay a living wage can make a huge difference in people’s lives. Curriculum and instruction faculty and researchers can help K-12 and higher education institutions, government agencies, and industry to deliver more effective education that can reach more students. Now is a great time to get started on your PhD curriculum and instruction online with an affordable online program that will get you to the top of this important field so you can help make the world a better place.